Vols pick up athletic OLB Quart'e Sapp

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The recruiting process came to a close for Quart'e Sapp on Thursday with the Milton High School defender placing an orange Tennessee cap on his head at a declaration ceremony in Alpharetta, Georgia.

The Scout four-star prospect and No. 27-rated outside linebacker in the nation chose a career on Rocky Top for a variety of reasons.

“One of the big things is the fan support, obviously, and most of the guys that are committed there I met throughout camps and other activities and events,” said Sapp, who mentioned Tennessee coaches kept in touch the most frequently of all pursuers. “Just being able to become friends with them and you know have similar effects on this recruiting process in talking to them. So we got together and became friends and that really helped a lot with this decision.”

The other finalists were Miami (Fla.), Michigan State and Missouri. Sapp officially visited Tennessee in mid-January before tripping to East Lansing last weekend. He had an official visit to Columbia scheduled for this upcoming weekend but wanted to secure a spot in the Vols’ class.

Given his mobility and base of fundamentals, Sapp figures to fit perfectly into Tennessee defensive coordinator John Jancek’s 4-3 scheme.

“I play outside linebacker and WILL. In that defensive scheme, I will play that role. That switch is really similar to outside linebacker that I play here (at Milton). With all the guys that are coming in like Kahlil McKenzie and Shy (Tuttle), those big guys up front mean a lot to a linebacker.”

Having room to work in space and attack ball-carriers is essential for the second level of any defense, which means the big boys at tackle must occupy blockers. The Vols have three on the way — five-star Kahlil McKenzie, four-star Shy Tuttle and three-star Quay Picou.

“I’m really excited the transition over from high school to college,” Sapp said. “I know it’s a lot of responsibility, and I’m ready to really get to work. Those D-tackles Kahlil and Shy really mean a lot to me. Playing linebacker, D-line means really a lot to a linebacker. So, I’m excited to get up there and get to work.”

Sapp gives the Vols 29 commitments for the 2015 class, which overtook Georgia for No. 2 in the Scout national rankings after the ‘backer’s pledge. Tennessee has more Scout five- (3) and four-star commits (11) than Florida, Kentucky, Missouri and Vanderbilt combined. Butch Jones deserves some credit for selling the Orange & White to the blue-chippers.

“He brings a lot,” Sapp said of Jones. “He brings honestly. He brings really a concerted effort for working hard and he talks to me a lot about working and getting after it basically and telling everybody to believe in what he’s going to do in bringing in this 2015 class.”

The head man for the Milton Eagles smiles often when he speaks of Sapp.

“It’s like a kid growing up, that’s what it’s like,” coach Howie DeCristofaro said. “He came here as a sophomore and just to watch him grow physically, mentally, emotionally and make a good informed decision, that’s what you hope as a coach happens to your kids. That’s what you want to happen. Fortunately, for him, it did.

“They’re getting a really good athlete, a kid who can run, understands angles, great jumping ability and smart — very smart.”

The No. 9-ranked outside linebacker in the South had influence from his mother, who sounds like she’s bought into her son suiting up fro the Orange & White.

“I love the guys down at Tennessee, and I love the fan base as well,” Sapp’s mother said.

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